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More about Leicestershire County Council Artworks Collection

‘Art is both a form of communication and a means of expression of feelings which ought to permeate the whole curriculum and the whole life of the school…’

The Plowden Report, 1967


Leicestershire County Council Artworks Collection was established in 1947 under the vision of Stewart Mason, the then Director of Leicestershire Education. The royalties received from the publication of books by county officials allowed Mason to realise a lifetime ambition: to provide schools and colleges with original contemporary works of art. Mason felt that it was important to have art in places where people congregate daily as much as in museums and galleries. He particularly wanted children to experience art from an early age.

Over 60 years later, the Artworks Loan Scheme is now administered by the Open Museum Team of Leicestershire County Council Environment and Heritage Services and continues to bring art into schools and communities where it can be enjoyed, appreciated and more significantly used in the classroom to support and encourage creative and critical thinking.

The Artworks Collection comprises over 1,000 original paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture and textiles from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Collection includes works by Christopher Wood, William George Scott, Patrick Heron, and John Piper. More recent additions to the Collection have included paintings by Patrick Hughes and P. J. Crook, and prints by David Hockney, Peter Howson, Paula Rego and Bridget Riley (not included in this catalogue due to their medium). Leicestershire County Council Environment and Heritage Services continues to maintain the vibrancy of the Collection with an active collecting policy and new works being purchased each year. They are selected on grounds of artistic merit and in conjunction with an ongoing understanding of what types of work will be most effective and useful within different school environments and community groups – some of our artworks and sculptures are selected with the intention of providing tactile stimulus for people with physical or learning disabilities. The Artworks scheme also provides supporting information to accompany the selected works, providing a catalyst for further inspiration and projects.

Artworks may be used in different ways according to the requirements of the borrowing organisation. The art may be used in formal education activities and linked into the national curriculum, to inform and inspire discussion, or to stimulate project work or to allow a general appreciation of original art. The scheme encourages and explores ways which art can be applied across the curriculum, and inspires innovative projects involving artists working with students and local communities, which give teachers the confidence to use art in schools in a pro-active way. The scheme arranges for the works to be delivered to a venue then collected at the end of a termly or yearly loan period. The scheme also provides continuous support and information on how users can make the most of the art they have on loan.

Lisa Webb, Artworks Officer

Text source: PCF / Leicestershire County Council Artworks Collection

This description was originally written for a catalogue.

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